INDIANAPOLIS — Ash & Elm Cider Co. is celebrating five years of serving customers in Indianapolis.
"Big picture, this is a really big year for us at the cidery," Founder and CEO Andrea Homoya said.
Currently, Ash & Elm is located on East Washington Street and Hamilton Avenue, where they share space with a coffee shop next door.
The cidery is now expanding its footprint. Construction is underway on their new tasting room located at The Assembly on East Washington and North Oriental streets.
"I do see the space and just feel like it both makes sense and it's still shocking," Homoya said.
The historical building used to be where Ford cars were manufactured, but its now home to TWG real estate development company, apartments and Ash and Elm Cider Co.
"We are the only retail space in here, so we will service the restaurant for the employees and people that live here, as well as the near east side of downtown Indy and anyone who wants to come," Homoya said.
The new location is big enough for a full-service kitchen. At the current location, there is a small menu, but they wanted to expand it. Ash & Elm has a big gluten-free following, so everything can be made gluten-free.
"We wanted to expand and have a bigger full surface kitchen so we could do the full menu to bring people in and help expose more and more people to our cider," Homoya said.
Five years ago, when the cidery first opened they partnered with Renew Indianapolis, a non-profit committed to improving housing, economic development and quality of life in Indianapolis. Through The Build Fund, Renew Indianapolis helps small businesses like Ash & Elm Cider Co.
"They were one of our original lenders who helped us with our initial cider-making equipment. When we knew we wanted to move and do this big expansion they were the first people on our list because they are local," Homoya said. "We know the people that do it we had partnered with them before and felt like we could just call them up and say hey guys we need a little help."
"The build fund is a mission-driven lender that is operated by Renew Indianapolis to provide small businesses access to capital and technical assistance," Steven Meyer, Renew Indianapolis CEO said.
Renew Indianapolis recently announced it's expanding The Build Fund to Hamilton County and partnering with Anderson-based non-profit Bankable.
Businesses that are looking to get started or expand and may not be able to get traditional bank loans can use the money to buy property, expand at existing locations or purchase new equipment.
"As we are expanding both our geographic area, we are also trying to reach the businesses that are facing the most barriers to access to capital that is minority, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and businesses that are disabled persons," Meyer said.
The loan from Renew Indianapolis is helping Ash & Elm upgrade their cider equipment. They hope to be able to triple capacity and make a move into grocery stores in the future.
Homoya said she is excited for this new chapter to begin, especially after the challenges of the last year and a half.
"The way our customer supported us over the years, during the pandemic especially, they really showed up for us and the fact that were able to take this big step when we're still on the tail end of a really tough year, it means so much to us," Homoya said. "We couldn't do it without the cider drinkers of Indianapolis who have really showed up for us."
Ash & Elm Cider Co. plans to open their new tasting room on Aug. 10. The retail side of their current location will be closing, but they will still make their cider at the current site.